Question: Hi, I’ve always had somewhat of a nasty temper. Over the years I thought I had controlled it. Mostly due to hanging with someone who had a horrible temper too, so in order to be not like him I calmed myself. Well at times when I worry about people, I get annoyed and soon I am very angry.Today was a very bad day.My friend’s family needed some help cleaning their house so my friend came down and tried to get me to help. We did and then he stayed the night. We woke the next day at 8:30AM and worked and cleaned all day. The whole day turned out bad because there was nothing but fighting and arguing between my friend and his siblings – one who just recently got out of Prison.
My Mom got involved to the point of threatening the siblings. I felt panicky but by the time I returned home I was furious. I got so mad cause she was calling my friend’s family all sorts of names. I got ticked off and kicked my pop into a candle and into my Mom’s drink.
Then I got upstairs and realized what I did. I.. I always lecture my friend about his temper but mine may be worse. I.. I need to get rid of this anger or at least not do anything like that. Help? Signed: Troubled
It’s typical for people to turn worry and fear into anger. Anger feels better than fear. When we’re angry – we think we have some control. Fear causes us to feel out-of-control and vulnerable.
That’s why it’s so important to deal with the real emotion behind anger.
Here are some steps to take when you first recognize you are fearful or annoyed
1. Ask yourself: What is this all about? What is going on? You may not be able to think this through immediately so,
2. Take a break (time-out) to cool-down. You need to work through the physiological effects of anger.
3. Then, ask yourself: What is it that I need? What would help me achieve my personal goals in a healthy way?
4. Express your feelings after you and the other person have cooled down. Say: “Mom, I’m upset that you threatened my friend’s family. That was unnecessary and harmful. I’m asking that you don’t do this again. In fact, I want you to apologize for your actions.”
Your Mom may not heed your request but, you need to get your feelings out and call her into account. What she did was wrong.
But, the important issue is that you get control of your anger. If you can begin to:
-identify your triggers,
-explore and recognize the emotions and issues underlying your anger, and
-express your feelings and thoughts in appropriate ways – you will get further down the road to managing your anger and overcoming your fears.
Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC
Diplomate, CAMS-V, Supervisor, Consultant with NAMA; President, CounselCare Connection, P.C.
Anger Management Institute blog, podcasts and resources